Kristian: Loomis says Saints willing to move in draft
Saints GM Mickey Loomis spoke with reporters today in his annual pre-draft press conference. Loomis opened our live broadcast in the brand-new Saints Media Facility by joking, “I guess this is the deal where you guys ask me questions, and I do the best I can not to answer them.“
Exploring all options: With the team less than 48 hours away from the start of the NFL Draft, the team is exploring just about every option. “I think we would say it’s a deep draft, there is a couple of positions that we think are deeper than others…probably defensively at corner, and the D-line positions.” Loomis said. “But there’s good players all the way through this draft, so we’re excited to get five new guys in here, and get them started, and select some guys who are going to be contributors to our team.”
Click HERE to listen to the full Mickey Loomis press conference
Loomis dismissed the notion the team has been more active this year trying to recoup some draft picks. (The Saints don’t have a 2nd or 7th round pick this year). “No, I wouldn’t say we’ve been more active….Obviously we don’t have a second round pick. We’d like to have one, particularly this is a year where it would be really good to have a second-round pick. But, we haven’t been more active because of that,” Loomis told us. “Those kinds of deals where you’re trading back and picking up selections are going to happen on the clock for the most part.”
The Saints GM explained they have about 15 players graded as “first round picks” with as many as 40 to 50 players graded as second round picks.
On moving up or down: The Saints are pretty much smack dab in the middle of Round 1 (15th overall). Loomis said the decision on whether to move back in the first round, if it happens, probably won’t happen until the Saints are on the clock.
“I think we would be willing to move back, but there is a point where we don’t want to go too far; and same thing with moving forward. There is probably a group of 10-12 teams on either side of that I will touch base with. “
Loomis added the Saints won’t move back just for the sake of acquiring an extra pick.
“It’s going to be predicated on who is available to us, and who could we select if we move back, who we think we can select if we move back…versus just trying to get another pick."
Blind side: At the league owners’ meetings earlier in the spring, Coach Sean Payton said the left tackle spot after losing Jermon Bushrod in free agency is a position that is “wide open” and it keeps him awake at night. Today, Loomis said the team will pay attention to that position in the draft.
“Look, we’ve got Charles Brown and Jason Smith competing there, and we’ve got some other young players in our building…and so, we’ve got competition there. Clearly, we don’t have a name on that magnet at starting left tackle yet…But we can only select what’s available to us in the draft, or what’s available to us in a veteran player. We’ll pay attention to that player.
Chris Ivory: The Saints currently have five running backs on the roster. Previously restricted free agent Chris Ivory (who signed his tender a couple of days ago) has been the subject of trade talks leading up to the draft. The New York Jets are reportedly interested in landing the bruising running back, but according to Loomis, so are a few other teams.
“We’ve had discussions with other teams as well, (but) there is no deal imminent.”
Loomis explained the trade discussions centered on the team’s strength in numbers at the position.